Schema theory

IB Psychology: Schema theory

When expert football players like Manchester United"s Zlatan Ibrahimovíc kick the ball directly into the goal during a penalty, it may look like any other goal to some of us. However, besides a good deal of self-confidence, this particular kick is the result of many hours of practice and a combination of cognitive processes. Zlatan needs to take into consideration the position of the goalkeeper and predict possible...

To access the entire contents of this site, you need to log in or subscribe to it..

Click the free stuff button on the home page to access free pages or check the blog (which is also free).

All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.

Comments 12

Ian Latham 21 December 2017 - 10:04

In your detailed description of B&T you highlight the difference between effect of schema in incidental recognition versus incidental recall tasks. What does this difference add to our understanding of schema theory?

Also in the qus &ans you usefully replicate the results of how, for example 9/30 participants recalled books. Given that less than half of the participants showed the distortion, to what extent is B&T convincing support for schema theory?

Finally, the conditions are the free text recall, picture drawing and recognition? If so, what is the IV?

Thanks! (Currently using B&T in class and these qus cover claims made in essays.)

John Crane 25 December 2017 - 14:43

Dear Ian,

A lot of good questions. There was a part of me that did not want to include Brewer & Treyens in the text as it is a rather problematic study - and many textbooks actually misrepresent the findings.

I think that the IV is the "method of retrieval". I think that what is interesting is that they did not remember items that were not there with any signficant frequency unless they were first asked (the recognition condition). Then their schema were activated. I think that this shows a nuance in the results. In addition, when directly asked about incongruent objects, they remembered them. So, when students write simply "when they were asked to list the objects in the room, they remembered objects that were congruent with their schema and did not recall those that incongruent," this is a rather overstatement of the findings. Personally, I find the drawing condition the most interesting - where they changed the placement and shape of the objects. This seems to me to be stronger evidence of the role of schema.

Ian Latham 29 December 2017 - 12:12


Charlotte Cachia 11 January 2018 - 12:36

Dear John,
Can I use the following studies for schema theory and are their links to other parts of the syllabus appropriate?
#1 Lewis (1990): psychiatrists arrive at different diagnoses based on the race of the patient (again activated their racial schemas) - can be used for confirmation bias and stereotypes and clinical biases in diagnosis

#2 Beck and his theory of depressogenic schemas: research support from Alloy (1999): who found that negative thinking pattern was a predictor of depression - can be used for etiology of depression

#3 Bartlett and cultural schemas

Are you planning on using Bartlett?

John Crane 13 January 2018 - 13:50

Dear Charlotte, yes - these studies are fine. I still plan on using Bartlett since this is the father of all studies. I will also teach Brewer & Treyens and then go on to teach about schema in more detail in the unit on depression. My students have done this in the "current" curriculum as well and i think that it is a helpful strategy for cutting down on the amount of research that they have to remember.

Shelley Swift 9 February 2018 - 04:46

Hi John, is the bio study Mahone or Caramazza? Here it says Mahone but here it says Caramazza?

Shelley Swift 9 February 2018 - 04:52

I have found this one by Mahon and Caramazza (2009) (without the e)

John Crane 10 February 2018 - 09:05

Sorry, I will fix the spelling. The Carmazza study was miscited in that Mahon is the first name on the citation. Rather than fix it on the old page where there was no list of references, I changed it here. You can find all references listed at the end of each chapter.

Ferin Faizal 9 March 2018 - 01:11

Hi John,
Can you tell me what is the difference between face validity and construct validity? How do we explain the face validity of schema theory?

John Crane 10 March 2018 - 07:20

Dear Ferin,

These terms are used interchangeably. You can see above that the construct which is problematic is "schema." It is not possible to observe them or to measure their activity.

Ferin Faizal 11 March 2018 - 06:54

Got it. Thanks!

Monali Sharma 27 March 2018 - 05:06

Dear John
I have a question regarding how many research studies should be okay for a topic. If we see this particular topic, you have covered two. I also plan to add Bransford and Johnson's on the effect of schema in encoding and Anderson and Pichert's (influence of schema on retrieval.) Won't this be too much information for the kids?

To post comments you need to log in. If it is your first time you will need to subscribe.